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house Bill H.R. 3905

Restoring Mining Leases in a Minnesota Nat’l Forest and Blocking Monument Designations There Without Congress' Approval

Argument in favor

The Obama administration was wrong to revoke the mining leases that had been issued in Minnesota’s national forests to help the local economy via copper mining. The mining leases should be restored, and Congress should be responsible for approving monument designations or mining lease withdrawals on that land.

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11/29/2017
Protecting our forests is good but we also need to use the resources we have. They don’t have to be mutually exclusive. We don’t allow companies just to go and destroy everything. They have to follow rules and regulations like any company.
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Brian's Opinion
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11/29/2017
The Obama administration was wrong to revoke the mining leases that had been issued in Minnesota’s national forests to help the local economy via copper mining. The mining leases should be restored, and Congress should be responsible for approving monument designations or mining lease withdrawals on that land.
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Sergeant's Opinion
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11/30/2017
“They” said we’d be out of oil by 2000 and the ozone layer would kill us and on and on. Necessity is the mother of invention. We all want a clean and healthy earth but we also need minerals and energy so we must find the perfect balance. What sense is the “not in my backyard” mind set. If we don’t mine it-we must buy it and trust that some third world country will protect the Earth? We put harsh rules on recyclers recovering the metal belts from tires so they were sent across the border to Mexico. I watch the billows of black smoke from my home in ElPaso Tx and the air damaged my lungs.
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Argument opposed

The Obama administration was right to revoke these mining leases because they'd threaten the pristine nature of the region as a tourist attraction supporting the local economy. Mining shouldn’t be allowed in Minnesota’s national forests until the current environmental review process plays out at its scheduled pace, if ever.

Dan's Opinion
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11/29/2017
Once again the behavior toward protecting the environment (or lack thereof) is self serving and unacceptable.
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BeckyRae12345's Opinion
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11/29/2017
Protect the environment, not the big corporations!
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Joseph's Opinion
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11/28/2017
STOP destroying our land for mining. This is a sick disgusting bill that will destroy wildlife and the beauty of our country. I have a GREAT idea let’s drill or mine trumps golf clubs. Then we will see how the orange idiot likes that.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
  • The house Passed November 30th, 2017
    Roll Call Vote 215 Yea / 204 Nay
      house Committees
      National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands
      Committee on Natural Resources
      Energy and Mineral Resources
    IntroducedOctober 2nd, 2017

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What is House Bill H.R. 3905?

This bill — known as the MINER Act — would require that the removal of National Forest System lands in Minnesota from availability for mining or the establishment of a national monument on such lands be approved by Congress. The bill would also restore two mineral leases in Minnesota’s Superior National Forest that were canceled by the Obama administration’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in December 2016 and modify those lease terms. Nothing in this bill could be construed as allowing the prospecting and utilization of mineral resources in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness or Mine Protection Area.

The bill would also specify that mineral leases on forest system lands in Minnesota be issued for an initial 20-year period and renewable for 10-year periods if the lessee complied with the lease’s terms and conditions during the prior period and the lease encourages production or addresses changing conditions in the lease area. The Secretary of the Interior could suspend operations under a lease if the lease can only be operated at a loss due to market conditions or if operations are interrupted by strikes.

Environmental reviews required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for mineral leases covered by this bill would have to be completed within 30 days of this bill’s enactment. The Dept. of the Interior and the Forest Service (through the Dept. of Agriculture) would be authorized to grant permits for using surface lands not included in the lease for purposes connected to the development, exploration, and use of deposits covered by the lease.

The bill’s full title is the Minnesota’s Economic Rights in the Superior National Forest Act.

Impact

Companies with mining leases that would or could be affected by the bill; and relevant federal agencies.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 3905

$2.00 Million
The CBO estimates that enacting this bill would increase offsetting receipts from mineral leases, decreasing spending by $2 million over the 2018-2027 period.

More Information

In-DepthSponsoring Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN) introduced this bill to require that Congress approve any proposal to withdraw mining leases in Minnesota national forests or designate such an area as a national monument:

“In their final hours, the Obama Administration enacted a series of harmful and reckless policies, which have hindered our ability to utilize our state’s abundance of natural resources and bring jobs to a part of our state that badly needs them. I know that we can responsibly mine and bring jobs back to this region without destroying the forests, lakes and streams that all Minnesotans hold dear. That is why I am proud to introduce the MINER Act, which will allow mining as long as it meets strict environmental requirements, so that we can advance our state and local economies while protecting Minnesota’s beauty for future generations.”

House Democrats strongly opposed this legislation in committee, writing in its report:

“We strongly oppose H.R. 3905 because it would risk the health and vitality of the most visited wilderness area in America, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northern Minnesota. The BWCAW and the neighboring Voyageurs National Park power the economy of that region, supporting 22,000 jobs and $1.4 billion in visitor spending, all of which are dependant on the unspoiled character of the more than 1,000 lakes in the area. This legislation would reverse recent decisions by federal agencies and stop an environmental review in its tracks in order to promote a Chilean mining conglomerate’s proposed copper sulfide mine that would sit right at the edge of the BWCAW.”

This legislation passed the House Natural Resources Committee on a party-line 17-13 vote and has the support of three cosponsors, including two Republicans and one Democrat.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: Yinan Chen / Creative Commons)

AKA

Minnesota's Economic Rights in the Superior National Forest Act

Official Title

To require congressional approval of any mineral withdrawal or monument designation involving the National Forest System lands in the State of Minnesota, to provide for the renewal of certain mineral leases in such lands, and for other purposes.

    Protecting our forests is good but we also need to use the resources we have. They don’t have to be mutually exclusive. We don’t allow companies just to go and destroy everything. They have to follow rules and regulations like any company.
    Like (35)
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    Once again the behavior toward protecting the environment (or lack thereof) is self serving and unacceptable.
    Like (110)
    Follow
    Share
    Protect the environment, not the big corporations!
    Like (100)
    Follow
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    STOP destroying our land for mining. This is a sick disgusting bill that will destroy wildlife and the beauty of our country. I have a GREAT idea let’s drill or mine trumps golf clubs. Then we will see how the orange idiot likes that.
    Like (59)
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    Protect our environment.
    Like (39)
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    There is no need to allow mining in this area. Returning to 100 year old ways of creating energy is silly. This is merely a way for quick profits. There is far more job opportunities and economical advantages by building and maintaining renewable energy resources. If a person can mine coal, they can assemble wind, wave and solar power equipment. This is another handout to large energy corporations that don’t want to spend money on training employees or research and development.
    Like (34)
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    Government is supposed to be for the people, not just 1% of them. Protect the environment, indict the GOP.
    Like (31)
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    Stop the rape of our earth for fossil fuel greed.
    Like (23)
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    Please just say no. Mining in this area is not s good idea. The water is too precious!
    Like (17)
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    Don’t allow the Republicans to destroy the natural beauty of our country to keep a Trump promise of a lost industry. Miners could reposition themselves to learn a 21st century trade and join the future.
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    Absolutely not. There’s no instance of a copper sulfide mine not polluting the environment. The specific types of mines currently being outlawed in the Philippines and shut down in Peru due to the disasters they cost. International conglomerates with terrible track Records like the conglomerate behind twin metals have a long history of environmental problems and workers rights violations. Don’t Believe me on what these specific types of mines have caused? Just look north to Canada at the Mount poly disaster.
    Like (14)
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    Why keep destroying this country? money hungry bastards
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    If I’m correct, doesn’t mining require digging? Heavy equipment? Perhaps the removal of trees and other native plants? It’s my park too and I don’t want any heavy equipment, digging or damage to any vegetation.
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    Less mining. Less drilling. More concern for environmental protection.
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    No. No. No. No. vote no on HR 3905, which would reinstate the twin Metals mineral leases on the edge of the Boundary Waters. Also vote no on HR 315, which would a lock in a deal for polymet mining. They would get over 6,000 Acres of public land for cheap with no chance for court review!!! They would use the land for an open pit sulfide mine. Which has NEVER proven to be safe & turns the water to sulfuric acid. For what? A handful of jobs that MOSTLY go to out of state experts (Not locals) and this mine will last fewer than 10 years— leaving a swath of destruction in its wake. Keep the BWCA safe. They’re irreplaceable.
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    So it is not enough for this administration to globally attack the environment for corporate profit, they now feel the need to start the process on a state by state basis. The National Forest land managed by the BLM is PUBLIC land. If mining companies want to destroy it, they should share all profits with the American people directly, through actual cash payouts, in return. Why should they and their shareholders be the only ones getting rich from minerals owned by us all? If we could make these endeavors less profitable, they would stop! Not everything should be about greed and profit for one -- sometimes, you just have to think about the greater good.
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    Start standing up for the environment instead of antiquated technologies.
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    The whole point of these places was to perserve. How exactly will we acomplish this goal when we are tearing the ground apart and destroying the local ecosystem?
    Like (12)
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    Don’t destroy our national forests!
    Like (11)
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    Please protect our natural resources
    Like (10)
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